A Walk on Ancient Grounds
This April, multi-media artist Demetrio dela Cruz digs ancient roots on his 9th solo art exhibition, the Pinto Art Museum under Dr. Cuanang in Antipolo hosts this exhibition entitled “ on SAMTOY grounds” SAMTOY is an ancient name of Ilocos, and the artist being also an Ilocano, take a plunge on its ancient path, its culture, its art, poetry and literature. Demet, as known by many is always been fascinated by the Ilocandia’s epic “Lam-ang” as he remembers that it was being taught in his early elementary years on their Filipino Literature subject.
The Ilocano epic Biag ni Lam-ang ( Life of Lam-ang ) is believed to be among the oldest Filipino poems in existence. Some scholars, like H.Otley Beyer and Renwald Brandstetter, assign to it a prehispanic date.
Lam-ang is not the creative product of any single mind but the property of the people - a wisdom that has floated down centuries past. The poem is said to have been modified during the Spanish period, which implies that it had a precursor of pre-hispanic origin.
Old men of Ilocandia in the past knew the poem by heart. They sang Lam-ang during weddings and baptismal parties to the tune of the “Dallot” an ancient Ilocano tune, accompanied by the “kutibeng” a stringed instrument. Until recently, unlettered old men and women in the Ilokos and in areas where they immigrated committed this poem to memory. This poem which is being chanted by ancient Ilokanos, was put to writting by a blind poet, Pedro Bukaneg. If the poem has proven popular among the people, the common folk particularly, it is because Lam-ang as a scholar once pointed out, reflects the life, culture and ideals of the ancient Ilokano, his unfailing valor as a fighter, his rugged honesty and the adventurous spirit.
The exhibition is being set-up as an installation piece as a whole, Demet’s artworks for the show are paintings in oil and acrylic on canvas, other are inventive combination of oil paint and mixed media on transparent sheets. He uses oil paint but applies it on transparent Flexi-glass sheets, minimum of five layers which have a way of oscillating with the light, adding a sense of movement, as well as enhancing colors which all together lend an illusion effect of 3D in precious layering.
As Dr. Joven Cuanang commented, “This is one major show worth going to!”
Pinto Art Museum
10 - 24 April 2016
1 Sierra Madre St.
Grand Heights Rd